“I had the pleasure of building the entire machine myself. Doug Kinney sanded it and helped paint it, but the entire concept here was to build a machine for parades and stuff. At the first parade I threw candy from the rear trailer to the kids in the crowd, and it spooked the horses in the parade (kids chasin’ candy) I never did that again! Newton was responsible for the sketches of the ‘Candy Wagon’ after the machine was built. I drove this machine to many bike runs in and around California and it was an exceptional Harley trike motorcycle and very dependable!” ~Ed Roth

Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth’s epic ‘Candy Wagon’ trike was built in 1967/68 with his crew– Dan Wood, Jim ‘Jake’ Jacobs, and Doug Kinney. An old Harley-Davidson Police Servi-Car trike motorcycle (see vintage pic below), originally manned by meter maids poking around on their daily routes to enforce parking violations, and minor traffic infractions. ‘Candy Wagon’ was “powered” by an old 45 cubic inch Flatty that produced an average speed around 45 (underwhelming) mph! As they say– All show, no go!

Harley-Davison Police / Utility vehicle– the Servi-Car trike motorcycle was a workhorse, powered by 45 cubic inch Flathead V-twin engine that produced roughly 45 horsepower.

CHOP CULT shared original photographs (thought to be lost forever) from the Street Chopper 1969 Issue #1 story and photo shoot featuring Ed Roth’s Trike Grudge Match.

Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s CANDY WAGON trike motorcycle before the “TRIKE STYLE” GRUDGE MATCH competition against Tom at A.E.E. Choppers equally awesome, and faster TRIKE.

Ed “Big Daddy” Roth cruising the freeway on his Kustom CANDY WAGON trike motorcycle.

Another ass view of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth cruising the freeway on his CANDY WAGON trike.

Tom of A.E.E. Choppers’ TRIKE vs. Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s CANDY WAGON in the background.

Toms’ TRIKE and Big Daddy Roth’s CANDY WAGON in front of the A.E.E. Choppers shop.

Tom on the A.E.E. TRIKE side-by-side with Big daddy Roth on his CANDY WAGON trike.

Tom on the A.E.E. TRIKE side-by-side with Big daddy Roth on his CANDY WAGON trike.

c. 1969, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth muggin’ with his Kustom CANDY WAGON trike motorcycle.


“Here we are, ladies and gentlemen, at the beautiful Orange County Raceway awaiting the onslaught of Big Daddy Roth’s ‘Candy Wagon’ vs. A.E.E. Choppers ‘TRIKE.’ The event that led to this battle for supremity started at the Long Beach Car Show where Big Daddy was proudly displaying his just-finished three-wheeler. Along with his ‘Candy Wagon,’ Big Daddy had a sign posted in a most conspicuous place, challenging A.E.E. Choppers to a race to Milwaukee, Wis., the TRIKE against the CANDY WAGON. Well, A.E.E. wasn’t at the particular car show, so they didn’t get the message. Not one to let sleeping dogs lie, Big Daddy again broadcasted his challenge. This time using Cycle News. He got just a mite more insulting this time, insinuating that the TRIKE was a groovy show piece, but couldn’t cut the mustard as a usable machine.

This time A.E.E. got the message, and also got some ruffled feathers. One of the facts they were proudest of, is that they build usable street machines, no matter how wild they happen to look. They were so riled, they returned Big Daddy’s challenge, via Cycle News. A.E.E. thought there should be a real test to prove who the better street machine was. They wanted a three-part contest consisting of– a speed and braking test, a cross-country endurance run, and freeway cruising and city traffic test. Big Daddy accepted these terms, so plans and ground rules were formulated.

The first test was the speed and braking– and that’s how come we’re here at Orange County Raceway this bright and sunny day. After some final pre-race checkouts, Big Daddy and Tom rolled up to the Christmas tree starting line. After a bit of getting acquainted with this very sensitive starter, both boys managed a green light start. The TRIKE was immediately airborne, front wheel in the air. The kind of antics usually make you a loser, but even with the wheel-stands, the TRIKE did a thorough job of wailing on Big Daddy– for all three runs!

Next was the braking. This proved slightly more difficult. There was a lot of fancy break determining equipment on hand, but it also happened to be too much for the contestants. They hit on a rather hot-or-miss way of determining that their bikes were just about equal in the stop department, and that both bikes had more than ample stopping capabilities for street use.

Both riders were now warmed up to the feel of each other, and ready for the next contest– the cross-country endurance. Originally, it was determined that this test was to be a race, seeing which rider could complete the given course first. Since the speed runs had proven the TRIKE the definite faster and more powerful, it was decided that Big Daddy and Tom would putt together. Side by side they traveled through open country, by orange groves, by the ocean– and into the desert where gas stations were few and far between. Both bikes were performing admirably, and it looked like things were going to be pretty dull.

About this time, Tom made a pit stop. Big Daddy, being human, had grown kind of tired of the same old monotonous side-by-side running– so he thought he’d see how far he could get before the TRIKE caught him again. As soon as the TRIKE had been gassed up– Tom went charging after Roth. He was really bound and determined to squelch this display of independence– so he cut off the road and took an uncharted route through the wilderness determined to beat Roth off at the pass. This proved a fiasco, ’cause just short of the highway some boggy, ditchy ditches hung up the TRIKE. Big Daddy really helped out a buddy in trouble– he laughed and pointed as he cruised by.

Eventually Tom had the TRIKE on solid highway again and went charging after Big Daddy. Just a piece down the road, we come on Big Daddy pushing unhappily down the road towards the nearest gas station– and always willing to return the favor, Tom smiled and waved as he sped past.

Both riders later regrouped and declared peace, willing to let by-gones be by-gones. Satisfied that both bikes were reliable, open-highway machines, they moved onto the next test– the highway and city traffic negotiating. Actually, we figure the real reason for the truce was the fact that neither rider wanted to brave the freeway alone– after all, there’s safety in numbers. The first impediment was a pull-over red light from the California Highway Patrol. What bike rider could call his day complete without without being stopped by the fuzz? I mean, it wouldn’t seem like a normal riding day! There wasn’t too much of a hang-up though, since Big Daddy and Tom looked like upstanding, law-abiding citizens. They were allowed to go on their way without so much as a warrant check!

Both riders and bikes showed supreme agility, maintaining their position in the slow lane, and an occasional venture into the middle lane, without being run over by fellow drivers. With sufficient courage having been showed on the part of both riders, they moved off the freeways and down into the city streets– both confident that they had what it takes to survive this particular wilderness. Again, both machines proved capable of negotiating city driving. Both machines moved off smartly as the red light turned to green– deftly avoiding being knocked out of competition by the hurry-up average California driver. Both machines had superior handling characteristics– quickly responding to an abrupt demand of a 90 degree turn to avoid a head-on collision with a woman driver who had pulled out in front of them from a side-street. After sufficient hours of this type of torture testing, both riders succumbed to fatigue, in this, the most grueling of all the tests– and called the contest a draw. Both are satisfied that either trike, is a worthy street machine, capable of negotiating under normal street conditions– the only concessions being the TRIKE would be quicker at getting out of the way of a woman pulling out in front of you, things like that!